Saturday, January 12, 2013

One Full Month Flipping

Looking back at the last month and a half of trying to implement a fully flipped class in 2 of my courses, I can say that I am truly exhausted, but delighted.  I'm not overwhelmed with the exhaustion because I know that all of the tutorials that I have made so far, I will be able to use next year.  All of the packets that I have created so far, I will be able to use next year as well.  Therefore, while constantly having to plan way far ahead, and anticipating problems that may arise and by constantly surveying my students to see how they are doing, I know that in the end, it is worth it.  I kind of feel like a first year teacher all over again!

I have been constantly reflecting on how I can make the flipped class experience more beneficial to my students.  I haven't been giving units of work for students to do, rather a "Week at a glance" sheet to make it more manageable for them and myself.  Per students suggestions, I've changed the format of the activity sheet to be more user friendly.  From their Google Form comments, I have learned that in some cases, I need to slow down when I record my audio, I need to speak up, I need to translate more into English (not going to happen!) or that I have done a good job at clearly communicating the grammar point to my students.  I have also been surprised at the quality of the questions regarding the grammar points being studied as well.  In the 15 years that I have been teaching, I don't believe that I have ever received such high quality questions from students of all ability levels.

The one thing that has surprised me the most is the institutionalization of our students.  Just as it was difficult for me to give up control of being in front of the class delivering the instruction, they were uneasy with me NOT being up there delivering the instruction.  Based on their feedback, I have tweaked the order of the class.  The beginning of the class is always dedicated to questions and review of the topic.  Then activities that they work on at their own pace while I am circulating the room.  Sometimes we come together to do a listening activity or speaking activity together in the language lab. Lastly, we come together in the last 10 minutes of the class to review an activity together and for questions.   In these last 10 minutes I have also been having my students text me using Google Voice the response to a prompt.  I can immediately, even before the bell rings, send them back a text with feedback.  With these changes, which I am sure will change again, it seems as though they are beginning to feel more comfortable.  And so am I!